Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Letter to my Son: Baby Steps

Dear son,

A few weeks ago now, I saw you do one of the most incredible things of your young life to date. You'd been pulling yourself up on everything you could crawl to, but hadn't quite taken that first step without holding on to something. On this day, however, you saw the Ring of Much Tastiness taunting you on the piano bench, which was in between you and the Box of Buttons and Moving Pictures. I watched as you wrinkled that face of yours, knowing that one of two possible scenarios was about to occur - you were about to take your first step, or you were making a large deposit in your diaper.

And then, you let go of the chair, crossed one ham over the other, and planted your foot on the ground, still not holding anything. Three things were learned that day: 1) you could let go and move someplace else - more exploring! and 2) Daddy could win the Olympic high jump from the seated position (what can I say? I've got a strong butt).

Oh, and the 3rd thing? That sometimes, even when everything is going wonderfully right, things go suddenly go horribly wrong. Your crossover step was magnificent, but what you didn't account for was the awkward position it left you in. No more than a half a second after you took that one step, you tried to take another to catch your balance... and face planted on a toy.

Through all the tears though, it wasn't lost on me that you had still taken your first steps... and done it without mommy. For weeks I tried to goad you in to doing it again, setting up simplistic scenarios ("Look! No toys on the floor!") hoping - praying - that I could call for mommy and she would see you wobble like an orangutan leaving the pub. You just weren't having any of it.

Until last night. You were doing your usual routine of walking all the way around the room holding everything you could get your paws on until you came to me. With mommy standing in the middle of the room, I led you with one hand part of the way out in to the room.

And let go.

You didn't hesitate for an instant. With one big step, you walked to your mommy. You giggled; mommy cried; daddy breathed one big sigh of relief.

You'll take other big steps in your lifetime - in to a pool, on a baseball field, graduation, etc. There will only be one that will be any bigger than this moment you just shared with us - the day you walk down the aisle of the church to give your life to Christ. There will be many so called baby steps to that point - Sunday School, Big church, VBS, praying each night. But that one first step out in to the aisle... that's the big one. There's more to that step than just movement. It's a sign to everybody that you are choosing to live your life for the One who gave His for all of us. And that's the step we'll be waiting on.

Loves my Pork Chop,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As the idiot walks

So there I was (because that's how all good redneck-in-peril stories begin... and yes, this is almost a redneck-in-peril story). Sitting in my hotel room in grand ol' Baltimore, looking down upon the city from almost top of the Tremont Plaza. It was 5 o'clock, and the streets were more backed up than the line at the beer stand for a Baptist picnic. What's a pudgy, suburban house-dad to do?

Donning my trusty Cabela's parka and SPSU sock hat, I hit by the "attractions" kiosk in the lobby to figure out where to head. I figure, can't go wrong with the Inner Harbor, center of most things civilized (read: it has a Barnes and Noble and a Starbucks). Now, gentle reader, do note that there is a... err, note on this machine that clearly states "walking directions." This is where things start to get interesting.

I head out the door and start to follow the printout, taking note of the various sites I see. I left, right, left to Baltimore St, then South St... and then I notice them. Trucks. Lots of them. Big ones, too.

Loaded in the back of the first truck: SWAT vests, body armor, boots. All marked Baltimore PD. Cool, I think; I'm in the safest part of the city right now.

More truck stuff, including lights - BIG lights. Like Batman without the symbol. I sneak a peek to my right as I approach an intersection - completely blocked off by one of the jerks with the trucks - and see a wall of cars one behind the other. But.. it's quiet. My eyes drift up and just as I see the camera...

"Quiet on the set!" Ohhhh did things get quiet - even the crickets were quiet.
"Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah take 32! Click!"

Pandemonium. Horns blaring. People come out of nowhere walking the roped off street block that I just wandered in to!!! I'm on a movie set, folks!

Only the camera wasn't even close to pointing at me. Oh, well.

Monday, March 02, 2009

But, it's for the children!

A Garland, TX mom is the latest victim of PSH - that's pants-pooping-hysteria - when her precious little one brought home a coloring book from the NRA's Eddie Eagle program that contained - now brace yourselves - pictures with guns. Oh, the horror!
"Not only do I think it's inappropriate to provide this information to my 5-year-old, but this is a program published by the NRA," said Nicola Howe, Samone's mother.

The coloring book includes illustrations of handguns and rifles.

"Having pictures of guns that children color in I think is sending the wrong message," said Howe.

The book is called Gun Safety with Eddie Eagle and it's published by the NRA. It's part of the Garland Independent School District's Health and Safety Curriculum.

"If a student comes across a weapon, they're supposed to stop, don't touch the weapon and then run away and tell an adult. Those are the parts that are taught," said Reavis Wortham with Garland I.S.D.

Howe doesn't see it as deterrent. She believes it only encourages curiosity.

"At 5 years old, anytime you tell a child not to touch something, that's exactly what they do. It's in their nature to be curious and to touch and handle things," said Howe.

Samone attends kindergarten at Sewell Elementary School. Not only did she get a coloring book, but her class also watched a video featuring Eddie Eagle.

"Gun ownership, control and safety are hot topics as well. It just simply has no place in our school systems," said Howe.
Yes, Mrs. Howe - a 5 year old is naturally curious. For that matter, so is a 10 year old, 15 year old, and... well a 35 year old. And there are other things far more instantaneously dangerous to the touch than an evil, vile gun. Do you also scoff at coloring books with pictures of bathtubs or swimming pools, the second leading cause of unintentional child deaths in 2003? For that matter, I sincerely hope you keep your precious little one away from cars, which kill more kids each year than anything else man could devise.

Oh, that's right - swimming pools and mommy's Caddy aren't "hot topics."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Topless Coffee Cafe

I'm sorry. No, I mean it. I'm reeeaaalllly sorry. I've tried to ignore this. I honestly have. I've even tried to ignore my blog. Alas, to no avail. Comments on:
Cup size (heh-heh, heh-heh...) has more than one meaning at a new central Maine coffeehouse. Servers are topless at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop (and what a grand view it is), which opened its doors Monday on a busy road in Vassalboro (busy road you say? Must have something eye-catching on that street). A sign outside says, "Over 18 only." Another says, "No cameras, no touching, cash only." (where's the fun in that?)

On Tuesday, two men sipped coffee at a booth while three topless waitresses and a bare-chested waiter (that there's just false advertising) stood nearby. Topless waitress Susie Wiley said men, women (with men) and couples (of men) have stopped by.

The coffee shop raised the ire of dozens of residents when it went before the town planning board last month (perhaps the only way to properly combat this is bottomless?). Town officials said the coffee shop met the letter of the law (which letter? B? C? DD?).

Lord I apologize. Bless all the pygmies down in New Guinea.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do the right thing

Tissue warning:
The coach never considered any other option.

It didn't matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn't matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big city team.

Something else was on Dave Rohlman's mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.

Only this time it was different.

"You realize you're going to miss them, don't you?" Rohlman said.

Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.

Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntel Franklin died at a local hospital. Carlitha Franklin had been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer, but she began to hemorrhage that morning while Johntel was taking his college ACT exam.

Her son and several of his teammates were at the hospital late that afternoon when the decision was made to turn off the life-support system. Carlitha Franklin was just 39.

"She was young and they were real close," said Milwaukee coach Aaron Womack Jr., who was at the hospital. "He was very distraught and it happened so suddenly he didn't have time to grieve."

Womack was going to cancel the game, but Franklin told him he wanted the team to play. And play they did, even though the game started late and Milwaukee Madison dressed only eight players.

Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on.

The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same.

"We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench," Womack said during a telephone interview.

"No," Franklin replied. "I want to play."

There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws.

Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing.

Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn't so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play.

"I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, `We're not taking it, we're not taking it," Womack said. "The refs told them, no, that's the rule. You have to take them."

That's when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal's hand went up.

He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.

His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.

It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.

They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.

"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Women Drivers

Note: the author of this blog is not saying anything. Neither am I implying anything. I just let the video stand on it's own.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Now batting... Lil' MD

“You’ve created a monster – you know that, right?” (El Opinionated Woodbutcher, aka my brother-in-law)

Many years ago, my darling little wifey-pooh was the quintessential Southern Belle - always prim and proper, never a cross word, and definitely not a confrontational person in the least. Three years of chasing dating, a year of enslavement engagement, and nearly ten years of yardwork marriage have changed a girl. She’ll throw down with Hulk Hogan or Doc Holiday if they get cross with her. Or another person telling her something ‘bout her child.

Time to unleash the beast.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Making her blogging debut, the Sultan of Spit-up, the Duchess of Diapers, the Princess of Poo... the one and only – as far as she knows – Mrs. Misawa herself, Lil’ MD...
Being a new mommy has changed my world inside and out for the best and I am still in awe that God has blessed us with this journey. Every day is a new adventure and I love experiencing life again through the eyes of my child.

That said, I have a particular problem with people - whether they are a part of the parenthood or not - that know a better way to raise your child and decide that you need to know it.

Since our little 8-month old “Pork Chop” - as Misawa has nicknamed him. I prefer “Baby Bear”, or “Love Bug” but I can understand why he would need a masculine nickname from Daddy - was born back in April I have noticed that not only do people like to give you advice while you’re pregnant but boy does Pandora’s box open when the child actually arrives. Here are some of the comments I’ve received:
  • You know what they say about babies that skip crawling don’t you? They become developmentally delayed.
As my hubby would say – bullbutter. This scenario came about because Pork Chop has recently shown an interest in walking but not in crawling. There are plenty of children that have developed just fine by skipping the crawling phase. Most pediatricians don’t even consider it a developmental milestone anymore. In fact, most studies conclude that kids crawl later nowadays due to the Back-to-sleep campaign – more time spent on the back equals... well figure it out for yourself. If my boy is not interested in crawling and just wants to chase the cat by rolling after him, so be it. I think it shows creative problem-solving skills.
  • I should write you a manual on how to raise a child.
This statement has come to me several times from a dear friend of mine. I love her but I think its time to say enough is enough. Just because you have more children doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. I may have never been a mommy before Pork Chop, but I am now and know my baby more than anyone else. Here’s the ironic part... that same friend told me later she wished her two children were as laid back as mine. How ‘bout them apples?
  • I don’t see how putting your infant in front of the TV before going to bed will make any difference on how he sleeps. It wasn’t a problem for my children.
When Pork Chop was around 3 months old, Misawa and I didn’t want him watching TV after 5pm because it stimulated him and kept him from sleeping at night. We had someone tell us that idea was crazy and that TV was never an issue for her children. My answer is – GREAT – I’m glad it didn’t bother your children but it does mine. Now that same person is amazed that we can put Pork Chop to bed at 7pm and he’ll sleep until 7am (most of the time).
In summary, I just wanted to share my thoughts on people sharing their opinions that ought not to. Just because I raise my child differently doesn’t mean its wrong. Every baby is different. Even if you do know more be sensitive and understand that your way may not be the only way. Also, if you refer to "they" when giving advice but don’t remember all the facts, don’t mention it at all unless you can back it up. New moms [and dads] have enough worries to deal with.

Misawa and I have another name for parenthood: crisis management. Parenting isn’t easy but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Thanks for listening. Have a blessed and Happy New Year!
Lil’ MD